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Political Repression and Child Labor: Theory and Empirical Evidence

Author

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  • Sandro Maffei
  • Nikolai Raabe
  • Heinrich Ursprung

Abstract

Most normative studies on child labor arrive at the conclusion that child labor is detrimental to social welfare. Child labor is, however, still prevalent in many developing countries even though in many of these countries it is forbidden by law. In this paper we develop a political-economic model that explains lenient enforcement of existing child labor legislation. The most important implication of our model is that in countries with repressive political regimes enforcement is more lenient and child labor thus more prevalent than in countries enjoying political freedom. We test this implication and find that it is confirmed by the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandro Maffei & Nikolai Raabe & Heinrich Ursprung, 2004. "Political Repression and Child Labor: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 1288, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1288
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
    2. Philipp Harms & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2002. "Do Civil and Political Repression Really Boost Foreign Direct Investments?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 651-663, October.
    3. Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 2000. "Wage Determination of a Child Worker: A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 219-228, June.
    4. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-427, June.
    5. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
    6. de Haan, Jakob, 2003. "Economic freedom: editor's introduction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 395-403, September.
    7. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
    8. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
    9. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C., 2000. "Why do Indian Children Work, and is it Bad for Them?," IZA Discussion Papers 115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Bretschger, Lucas & Hettich, Frank, 2002. "Globalisation, capital mobility and tax competition: theory and evidence for OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 695-716, November.
    11. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
    12. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-659, October.
    13. Busse, Matthias, 2003. "Democracy and FDI," HWWA Discussion Papers 220, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    14. Robert C. Shelburne, 2001. "An Explanation of the International Variation in the Prevalence of Child Labour," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 359-378, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Policies against human trafficking: the role of religion and political institutions," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 353-386, November.
    2. Franco Mariuzzo & Patrick Paul Walsh & Ciara Whelan, 2004. "EU Merger Control in Differentiated Product Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1312, CESifo Group Munich.

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    Keywords

    child labor; political economy; freedom;

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